I found the most awesome structural engineer to help me plan and build the foundations. Ian Leaper, he’s called, and I’d recommend him to anyone who needs an enthusiastic and interesting alternative-minded engineer, only he’s moving to France, so it’s too late. But I got in just before the bell and he’s been round tonight with his friend who drives a digger and they looked down the test pit (bad news, built up ground, got to dig way down) and sat and had earl grey tea and mused about the possibilities (good news, there are lots and he knows a lot about it all) and also talked about his project in France, specifically the ram pump he and a friend managed to build out of bits and bobs they found lying around.
It sounds amazing, and I’m only sorry I don’t have a stream running somewhere at the bottom of my land because I would totally build one. Google it, it’s amazing. Pumps 10% of the total flow of water through it uphill between 10 and 30 times the height of the header tank. For free! Only the power of the water and a sudden closing valve to cause a pressure burst. So cool. I love low-tech.
Anyway, because I feel I owe you a picture, here are the scribblings Ian did while describing various options for my foundations.